October 15, 2004     VOLUME 5

To our readers,

Gender violence is sharply rising and increasingly claiming younger lives everyday under the fundamentalist regime in Iran. In recent days, there has been news of a 13 year old girl who has been sentenced to stoning in the city of Marivan. Another woman, Fatemeh Haghighat-Pajouh, was sentenced to death for killing her abusive husband who attempted to rape her 15 year old daughter. Fatemeh’s daughter, from previous marriage, was subject to increasingly dangerous sexual threats by her 30 year old step-father. Under the fundamentalist regime in Iran, Fatemeh had no legal avenues available to seek protection from her abusive husband. Public execution and stoning of women remain common practices in Iran to further intimidate women to “adhere with Islamic laws”.

With an overwhelming amount of dissent that is widespread throughout Iran, it is clear that Tehran’s regime is making an utmost attempt to stifle and strangle any voice of opposition. Women are bearing the brunt of this burden of discrimination. Despite the dangers of being vocal and women in Iran, the regime fails to silence their cry for freedom and equality as seen in the women’s organized protests. Last week, hundreds of female students staged a protest in Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran. The students protested against the appalling conditions of dormitories offered to female students. According to an eye-witness, the fundamentalist regime quickly dispatched its anti-riot police “to bring about an atmosphere of fear and to arrest anyone who might dare to shout slogans against the regime itself”.

The courageous women of Iran are calling for the end of this fundamentalist regime. A regime whose socio-political policies are based on a gender apartheid system and treats women as slaves has no legitimacy and must be brought down. Those who support policy of engagement or dialogue with Iran only prolong further violence against the Iranian women. There are enough facts at hand to make the issue of dealing with the repressive regime like Iran very clear for any democratic government in the world. WFAFI hopes the next President of the United States will take a note of this and stand by the people of Iran, especially the women, in their call for indigenous regime change.


E-Zan Featured Headlines

Reuters News Agency – September 22, 2004

An Iranian woman, beaten every day by her husband, asked a court to tell him only to beat her once a week, a newspaper said on Wednesday. Maryam, the middle-age woman, said she did not
want to divorce her husband because she loved him, the Aftab-e
yazd daily said. "Just tell him to beat me once a week...Beating is part of his nature and he cannot stop it," Maryam told the court.
Tehran court found the man guilty and banned him from beating the wife, the paper said. "If I do not beat her, she will not be scared enough to obey me," the husband said.


Iran Focus News – September 23, 2004

As millions of school children headed back to school at the beginning of the new academic year, government officials in Iran announced new measures aimed at further segregation of boys and girls. School transport authorities across the country have been instructed to allocate separate buses for boys and girls. Davoud Shabani, head of public transport in Karaj, announced that school buses will operate “for approximately 40 minutes on 55 routes in the suburbs of Karaj after schools close.” “Girls and boys will be taken on separate buses,” he said. Thousands of teenage boys and girls have been arrested over the summer holidays for taking part in mix-sex parties. Some have been flogged in public.


Agance France Presse, September 25, 2004

Twenty young Iranian girls have been returned home "in a state of mental and physical trauma" after being forced to work as prostitutes in Pakistan, the Iran newspaper reported.
As part of the operation to break a sex-trafficking ring in northeastern Khorasan province, police were quoted as saying that 38 Pakistani nationals, including 17 women, were arrested.
The gang is accused of seeking out poor Iranian families in
Iran's so-called holiest city, Mashhad, offering to marry off young girls. The girls, some as young as 12-years-old, were then sent to work in Pakistan."Police managed to secure the return of 20 young girls, all of them in a state of mental and physical trauma," the police commander in Khorasan province, Eskandar Momeni was quoted as saying.
According to the report the girls ranged in age from 12 to 20.


Peik-e Iran Website – October 5, 2004

Tehran University is forcing further segregation of students by issuing parking passes with messages such as “female students are prohibited to drive with male students.” In addition, the university mosque posted a message on their front door wraning women with make up who will be “treated harshly” by the mosque authorities and university officials.


Iran Focus News – October 5, 2004

A young man was publicly hanged yesterday afternoon in the Robat square of Isfahan (central Iran) as his wife and child were forced to watch. The judge who had sentenced Mehrzad asked him if he had any final comments as he was being led to the gallows, according to witnesses. Mehrzad did not reply and was silent, they said. The regime’s state-run press has confirmed over 125 public executions since March 2004. The actual figure is believed to be much higher.


Agance France Presse, October 6, 2004

An Iranian woman has been sentenced to death for murdering and chopping up her drug addict husband who allegedly tried to rape her daughter, press reports said today. The woman was identified as 33-year-old Fatemeh Haghighat-Paju, and she is expected to be hanged "in the next few days", Etemad newspaper reported. She reportedly told a judge that her husband had been constantly eyeing up her 15-year-old daughter - from the woman's first marriage - and that she was told by the husband that he had lost the girl in a gambling match. Haghighat-Paju later discovered that her husband, only identified as 30-year-old Bahman, had tried to rape her daughter.


Iran Focus News – October 7, 2004

More than 650 female students of Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran staged a demonstration late Monday afternoon in protest against the dire state of their boarding houses. Students complained of a lack of basic commodities such as drinkable water and telephone facilities as well as unhygienic meals, according to eye-witnesses.  Many of the young women mostly in their late teens complained about the ‘dysfunctional transport system’. Anti-riot police had been dispatched to the gates of the university ‘to bring about an atmosphere of fear and to arrest anyone who might dare to shout slogans against the regime itself’, according to one eye-witness. Iran’s new academic year started 2 weeks ago near the end of September. It has also been reported that students from the Teachers Training College in the town of Sabzevar, northeastern Iran, staged a demonstration against the government’s failure to see to their welfare requirements.


Radio FardaOctober 10, 2004

Based on the research on violence against women in Iran conducted nationally, 66% of families are subject to such studies. The report indicated that in 30% of the cases, there are physical violence of which 10% end in lethal or permenant injuries. The research indicated that most violence occurs in the first year of marriage or during the pregnancy of women. This research was conducted in 28 states and 12,500 women along with 2000 men were interviewed during the study. The research also indicated 63% of the marriages are forced marriages.

E-Zan Featured Reports

The only solution for Iranian women is to overthrow the entire theocracy in Iran

Frontpage Magazine

September 17, 2004

Iran, a land of Persian culture and Shi’a Islam, has been controlled by religious leaders since the revolution that ousted the Shah in 1979. Iran is a unique theocracy crafted from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s interpretation of the Koran. Islamic fundamentalism is not just a conservative form of Islam, the way we in the United States have conservative (and moderate and liberal) forms of Christianity. Islamic fundamentalism is fascistic, totalitarian, and expansionist in its dedication to export its revolution to the entire Muslim world and eventually to destroy the western world and in particular “the Great Satan” - the United States. Islamic fascism is hostile to modernity, democracy, and freedom and rights for women. Misogyny – hatred of women – is at its core, just as hatred of the Jews was at the core of Nazism. The Nazis gauged their success on whether they had eliminated the Jewish population in each town; Islamic fascists gauge their success by how deeply they suppress women. The ideology of Islamic fundamentalism contends that women and men are very different beings. Women are said to be intellectually inferior and emotionally unstable, and consequently have to be excluded from decision making positions in society. Women are said to be the embodiment of sexual temptation and sin. That is why their bodies and hair must be covered at all times in public so as not to distract or tempt men. Rules and punishments in society are based on controlling women, through segregation, restrictions on travel, and most importantly, forcing them to conform to the restrictive dress code. ..Women and girls cannot be liberated from the grip of the misogynous mullahs without overthrowing the entire theocracy and freeing all the people of Iran. The only acceptable form of government which will give women full citizenship and equal opportunity for full participation in all areas of society is a democracy with separation between mosque and state. The Iranian theocracy cannot be reformed. Iran is a dictatorship based on the ruling principle of velayat-e fahiq which means rule by the supreme religious leader who has “guardianship” over the entire country. Ayatollah Khomeini was the first supreme leader, and after his death he was replaced by Ayatollah Khamenei, who still rules. The supreme religious leader holds decision making power over all major departments, most importantly the police, military, and intelligence services. He heads the Council of Guardians that decides who can run for office and can veto any laws passed by the parliament. The velayat-e-fahiq is not a system that can be reformed. That is why western leaders’ 25 year search for moderate mullahs and reformists has failed. There is no doubt the people, particularly the women, of Iran are past ready to kick out the mullahs. For years there have been local and national demonstrations against the regime by workers, teachers, and students…One exile group estimates that the Iranian regime has murdered 120,000 people for political activities against the regime. It is hard for us on the outside of Iran to know much about organized resistance inside Iran because all efforts must be kept secret.


More suppressive measures imposed on women in Iran

The New York Times

September 19, 2004

The hard-liners who won Iran's parliamentary elections last February have focused on women's rights in their efforts to reverse some of the reforms carried out under the moderate president, Mohammad
Khatami.  After the legislative session began in June, the 290-member Parliament, including all 12 of the women, abruptly rejected proposals to expand the inheritance right of Iranian women and to adopt the United Nations convention that bans discrimination against women. They also backed away from previous efforts to make "gender equality" a goal of the country's next four-year development plan.
Instead, the new Parliament has called for placing more restrictions on women's attire and on their social freedoms.  In recent months, though, newspapers have reported that scores of women have been arrested in
Tehran, the capital, and around the country because they were wearing what the authorities considered to be un-Islamic dress. Members of Parliament have called for segregating men and
women at universities and for other limits on women's activities. Hard-liners have held protests to call for a crackdown on freedoms for women and have contended that women ridicule religious sanctities by violating the dress code. Imposing restrictions on women's dress has been a barometer showing how far the authorities are willing to go to allow social freedom and give more rights to women.  Nearly two-thirds of
Iran's population is under 30, and more than 60 percent of university students are women. Women have become more vocal, and they demand equal rights. They want jobs and more legal rights within the family structure…"These restrictions are like putting a little stone in front of a huge storm…"  Women who have been pressing for expanded rights, however, were infuriated when in August a 16-year-old girl, Atefeh Rajabi, was hanged for adultery in the northern city of Neka while the man with whom she was accused of having a sexual relationship received 100 lashes. Amnesty International said the young woman was not thought to be mentally competent.  Women also reacted when Fatimeh Aliya, a hard-line Member of Parliament, suggested that polygamy was a way to improve the lot of poor women. Iranian law allows men to marry up to four permanent wives and an unlimited number of temporary wives. But polygamy is despised by most people here, and those who engage in polygamy usually practice it secretly.  "Polygamy eventually serves the interests of women," Ms. Aliya was quoted as saying in newspaper reports. "No woman can emotionally accept another woman in her life, but if she puts herself in the shoes of a woman who needs support then she can accept the idea."  Most of the women in the hard-line camp who serve in Parliament are members of a women's group called the Zeinab Society. Ms. Aliya said the group received its financing from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…


The 1988 massacre: Crimes Against Humanity

The American Thinker,

by Mrs. Roya Johnson

September 22, 2004

September 1st is recognized by Amnesty International as the “International Day in Remembrance of the Massacre of Political Prisoners” in light of the massacre of political prisoners in Iran in 1988. In the span of several months, thousands of political prisoners in what is now known as “The 1988 Iran massacre” were brutally murdered. Iranians, including former political prisoners like me, along with many international law experts, believe that this heinous atrocity, one of the most under-reported political mass killings of our times, qualifies the current Iranian leadership as perpetrators of crimes against humanity. I was among the protestors in a provincial capital south of Tehran. Right in front of my eyes one of the mullahs’ agents stabbed a female protestor in the chest. Another female protester’s face was repeatedly slashed with a cutter. A few yards away, several agents were beating two teenage girls two death. I came very close to losing one eye when I was hit by a rock. On that day, hundreds of men and women were killed and wounded on the scene. The next day, the summary trials began. Firing squads were formed and gallows were erected. Khomeini had realized that without an all-out suppression of political dissent, the next nationwide demonstration could possibly bring his regime down. I was arrested in 1982 at the age of 14, on the charge of distributing opposition newspapers and speaking in public against the dictatorship… With the 1988 massacre, the mullahs sought to extinguish the flames of resistance against their tyranny. They have not succeeded, but their reign of terror continues. At home, the mullahs murder, torture, rape and maim to silence dissent. Abroad, they offer lucrative deals to their trade partners, or threaten them with terrorism, to coerce them into blacklisting opposition groups. We should not be an unwitting accomplice to Tehran’s efforts. Conversely, we must lift all diplomatic or political restrictions from the anti-fundamentalist opposition groups to enable them to fight the mullahs on equal footing


Young victims of Iran quake being sold to human traffickers

Iran Focus

September 30, 2004

Nine months after a devastating earthquake that left behind over 50,000 people dead and more than 90,000 homeless, a new specter is haunting the wretched survivors of that natural disaster. Human trafficking has become a booming business, as orphaned girls and the children of impoverished families are being picked up by organized crime gangs. Girls and single women between the ages of 15 and 25 were the biggest victims of the tremor in Bam. Back in December and January, foreign aid workers complained that the Iranian authorities were discriminating against women and girls, giving men priority in the distribution of aid and medical supplies. A social worker who has spent the past few months tending to bereaved families said: “At present the number of old men marrying girls under the age of 20 has soared. Many girls are sold in ‘a black market’. Many more are forced to marry men 3 or 4 times their age out of poverty. It is the only way that they can sustain their families.” Another aid worker said the government has been acting inadequately to re-designate people. He said that at present the population in central Bam has more than doubled since the earthquake struck, as people in nearby villages have nowhere else to turn to for help. The relief worker, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of persecution, said: “Drug addiction has rapidly spread everywhere, especially among young girls and women. The government hasn’t taken any action. Something needs to be done about this.” Many social obstacles remain, and life has not come back to normal in the city of Bam. Many who have lost their loved ones, including small children say that that there is no one there to help them. The regime’s state-run press quoted Dr. Mostafa Tabrizi, a respected psychiatrist in Bam, as saying: “The trauma left on the young women is increased because of a lack of healthy social environment. The physical pain that they also have to bear also adds to their stress.” The aftermath of the earthquake has provided fertile grounds for human traffickers. Often working in collusion with corrupt local officials or, in the case of larger organized crime gangs, having ties to influential figures in Tehran, the traffickers work with impunity as they spot the girls and women in Bam and the outlying towns and villages and take them away to other cities, to be sold to wealthy old men looking for young concubines, or sent abroad, often to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

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Volume 5, October 15, 2004

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